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tv   NBC Nightly News  NBC  October 30, 2012 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT

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on our broadcast tonight, direct hit up and down the east coast. the terrible toll from the storm of history making intensity that has reshaped the coastline. lives have been changed in an instant by winds, water and fires. so much has been washed away. tonight we'll survey the damage with the governorf new york. our first view from the air and the moment of crisis. the heroes that came to the rescue at a big hospital plunged into darkness. "nightly news" begins now. good evening. a huge portion of the eastern seaboard is crippled tonight. millions of viewers cannot see this broadcast because they're
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heading into another night in the dark. a huge area of the country on its knees where life has ground to a halt, because of this one storm. the death toll is now at least 40. the biggest city in the country has been staggered. power is out for more than 8 million homes and businesses, and that's an early low ball estimate across 15 states. an early guess at the cost of this storm would begin at $50 billion in damage and lost business. the map of the atlantic coastline, especially the jersey shore has been simply redrawn in some areas. the president is touring the damage in new jersey tomorrow. today he told the folks across this entire region, america is with you. here is where this storm is now. it's centered 50 miles east-southeast of pittsburgh. think of it this way, the same storm that plunged the east coast into darkness, was today causing 60 mile an hour winds as
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far away as gary, indiana. the storm's being felt in wisconsin. it made a direct hit on the jersey shore. nbc's ron allen is in point pleasant beach tonight to start off our coverage. ron, good evening. >> reporter: good evening to you, brian, the storm came ashore about an hour's drive south of here and completely obliterated beach front properties like this hotel. the ocean is a block or so behind me. and last night the waters came rushing down the streets like this, waist deep water. and the sand is now several feet deep all over the place. in so many communities like this one, there's devastation as far as the eye can see. the garden state woke up to a devastated landscape, entire communities swamped. houses ripped from their foundations. the beach erosion caused by the relentless surf so profound it rearranged the jersey shore. it's famed board walks torn apart. this is the amusement park at seaside heights before and after
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the storm. governor chris christie toured his battered state by air, described what happened as unthinkable. >> the devastation that's happened to new jersey is beyond what's happened to anyone else, at least from the reports i've seen so far. that should come as no shock since the storm made landfall here. >> reporter: it hit just south of atlantic city, the gambling and tourism city, leaving residents who defied the mandatory evacuation order stranded. dozens had to be stranded from shelters of last resort where the power failed. in northern new jersey, more search and rescue, after a tidal surge pushed a river over its banks. the water rose five feet in a matter of minutes. >> it's like a lake in our basement. and it filled up to our stairs. >> there was no phone lines, the electricity was out, all our phones were dead, basically, we couldn't call nobody. >> reporter: across the state, 2.4 million customers, 60% of the population have no power.
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the worst of it was probably right along the coast, in towns like point pleasant beach, where this morning some who chose to ride out the storm told of an unbelievable experience. >> it was almost surreal last night. it was almost very surreal. with just the power and the awe of everything going on. it's only once in a lifetime you see stuff like this. >> reporter: the town sits behind a huge line of sands dunes built to protect it, last night it was no match for the power of hurricane sandy. it overwhelmed the barriers and sent torrents of water and sand rushing into the town. >> oh, my god. >> is that your kitchen? >> yes. >> theresa showed us what was left of her beach front restaurant. >> that was the whole dining area. there were walls and windows. this is where our to go was, and this is our kitchen. >> there are no walls and windows now.
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>> it's amazing. >> let's go. i don't have time for this. >> reporter: today as utility crews tried to clear the roads, police and firefighters went door to door, making sure there weren't any victims. as is the case up and down the shore, residents were not allowed to return home today until it's safer. given what's happened here and across the state, officials say that could take several days or more. it all happened in a matter of hours. tonight the winds are calm, it hasn't rained at all today. and the ocean is now breaking about 30 or 40 yards offshore. it's very calm. of course, brian, the damage has been done. >> when we say it redrew the map of the jersey shore, sadly, we mean it. ron allen, point pleasant beach tonight, starting off our coverage. one of the awful dramas that unfolded last night happened in
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the city of new york, the borough of queens, the neighborhood of breezy point. what was left there today looked like the aftereffects from a battle in a war zone. mara schiavocampo has the story. >> reporter: brian, good evening. the fire behind me is still smoldering, and this building is destroyed. sadly, it's one of many that burned to the ground last night, in a community that's already faced one too many tragedies. last night, residents here in breezy point thought water would be the biggest threat from sandy, not fire. the flames that burned through the night devastated this tiny community destroying 111 homes and damaging 20 more. sandy's winds whipped through the town, spreading the fire across the entire neighborhood. >> it looked like a forest fire out in the midwest. the winds were just devastating, blowing from one building to the next one. and those buildings were close together. >> we had the fire scanner on all night. the fire department couldn't get to breezy, it's horrible.
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>> reporter: remarkably, the fire department says there were only three minor injuries, but it took more than 200 firefighters to control the fire, and pockets are still smoeltderring throughout the area. >> devastation. our house is -- you know, in somewhat good condition. >> 118 of our neighbor's houses are gone. >> reporter: as our team drove here today, we came across a fire burning in bell harbor, just one mile from breezy point. this is an area all too familiar with tragedy. the bell harbor fire was on the very same block hit by a plane crash in 2001. and breezy point which has just 5,000 residents lost 32 in the september 11th attacks. today they suffered yet another loss. >> everyone here is very close, and it's a shame. it's so sad. >> reporter: breezy point will have to rebuild, but not alone.
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many of the residents of those burned homes weren't there last night, having evacuated for sandy. the area did see significant storm damage, including several feet of flooding. brian? >> mara schiavocampo with just one of the dramas that unfolded in new york last night. we want to go to lower manhattan, the tip of the island. nbc's anne thompson who rode it out in battery park city. ann, when you think about it, this storm didn't have a four or a five attached to it, it has a relatively casual name. and yet they've proven it had the lowest center of pressure ever recorded of any storm in our hemisphere. >> reporter: and it sure packed a wallop here in new york city. 8 million people share 400 square miles in new york city. they are a tough resilient bunch. this storm showed even the most prepared, that they weren't prepared enough. even new york bowed to the furious power of nature. gusts at 57 miles an hour ripped
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the face off this building as sandy's winds and rain tore through the city. a record storm surge, almost 14 feet filled lower manhattan, filling the brooklyn/battery tunnel with water. the force too much for the city's power grid. floodwaters shorting out this con ed substation. three quarters of a million new yorkers lost electricity. >> people were congregated around a radio just trying to get information. no one has power, no one has internet. >> it's amazing. cars are completely destroyed, they were submerged under water. i mean, i -- i'm floored by what happened. >> reporter: no borough was spared, from this oil tanker beached on staten island to a beach community in queens. >> this is a massive storage unit from a construction site. it floated over here or was blown over here. get this, all the way from across the street. you see those other containers that are there right now. >> reporter: the mayor said this may be the worst storm in the
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city's history. >> the damage we suffered across the city is clearly extensive, and it will not be repaired overnight. >> reporter: the subway system that carries 4 million people is flooded and could take days to repair. water damage for laguardia's runways will keep it closed at least another day. and 1,000 feet above midtown manhattan, that crane still dangles, keeping streets down below blocked off. >> oh, my god. >> reporter: the rush of water and wind toppled streetlights and carried mannequins a block from their store. >> you can see it's up about six feet. >> reporter: at this apartment building, the challenge, to get nine feet of water out of the basement. >> we have only one generator outside pumping it, and that could take days. >> reporter: an enormous task sure to test new york's patience. slowly new york will return to normal, and a big step comes tomorrow morning when the opening bell rings at the new
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york stock exchange, which has been closed for two straight days. something the weather hasn't done since the 1800s. brian. >> unbelievable night in new york city. anne thompson, thanks very much. earlier today we went underground, beneath the world train center site, the commuter train hub beneath the world trade center site, the train called path that was last shut down after 9/11, in a train station that's still being rebuilt since 9/11. the tracks last night filled with 13 feet of water within seconds. and where the governor was being briefed on the cleanup today. we got a chance to speak with him. so let's talk infrastructure, governor. short of a rooseveltian rebuild of our cities, how do we rebuild our cities? >> what makes it worse, this is one of the largest
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reconstructions that the country is doing at this time. i think it's actually a different phenomenon. we have to come to the realization that we are dealing with extreme weather patterns in a way that we haven't seen probably ever. and the frequency of these extreme weather patterns and the consequences can be devastating if we're not ready for it. and you take a city like new york, flooding we have not experienced before. you know, parts of the country deal with it in and out, but it's not one of the things new yorkers are accustomed to. the design of the city is not conducive to it. and last night, i'll tell you the truth, it was frightening. downtown manhattan, we had the hudson river came over the banks and was pouring in to the ground zero site, at such a volume that it was really frightening. and this was all filled with water. what we're looking at now, this goes back about five miles to the other end of the train
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track, which is in new jersey. and we have to figure out how to pump out this water. >> think of the three governors, malloy, connecticut, christie, new jersey, cuomo, new york. rebuilding coastlines or at least talking about plans today, are we the new amsterdam? >> well, you know, i said kiddingly the other day, we have a 100-year flood now every two years. there is a frequency to this. and this is really a new problem for new york state. we have not seen a flood like this damage like this in our generation, period. people working the subway system, the construction industry in this state have said they've never seen damage like this, period. so it's a new reality for us, and i think it's one that we're going to have to deal with. now, on this site, this is the ground zero site. this is a monument to human capacity, and human endurance. and this is new yorker's way of
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saying, we're not going to give up, we're going to come back, and we will. and this city will rebuild, and the state will rebuild. and i believe we will be the better for it. >> in a city where today people were talking about building seawalls, the kind they have in new orleans, our talk with the governor of new york deep underground earlier today. still ahead, as we continue tonight. remember election day, a week away, with so much destruction after this storm, a big question now for a lot of folks in a lot of places, are they going to be able to vote? who have used andr, there's big news. presenting androgel 1.62%. both are used to treat men with low testosterone. androgel 1.62% is from the makers of the number one prescribed testosterone replacement therapy. it raises your testosterone levels, and... is concentrated, so you could use less gel. and with androgel 1.62%,
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as we mentioned, this storm has disrupted so many lives across such a wide area it comes right as we enter the home stretch, of course, in the presidential campaign that just days ago, was all we were talking about. we've asked our political director and chief white house correspondent chuck todd to join us from the white house tonight. chuck, this part of the country, those who do have tv are seeing attack ads from a woman named linda mcmahon, who's running for senate up in connecticut, airing like nothing has changed, juxtaposed against the damage. >> reporter: we are a week from election day, this campaign is anything but normal at this point. the president is still cancelling campaign days on the trail. mitt romney is postponing campaign events.
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underneath the surface, they're still waging a pretty aggressive back and forth, particularly in the state of ohio. hunkered down in washington for the second day, the president stopped by red cross headquarters. >> the reason we're here, the red cross knows what it's doing. my message to the federal government, no bureaucracy, no red tape. >> reporter: mitt romney, who had suspended campaigning for the day, travelled to the battle state of ohio to encourage donations to the red cross. >> i had a chance to speak with some of the governors in the affected areas, they talked about a lot of people having hard times. i appreciate the fact that people in dayton got up this morning, some went to the grocery store i see, and purchased some things that these families will need. >> reporter: and with presidential politics hanging in the balance, one of mr. romney's top supporters, chris christie had nothing but praise for the federal government. >> the president has been outstanding in this, so the folks at fema have been excellent.
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>> reporter: later christie made it clear he isn't concerned about the storm's effect on election day. >> i don't care about election day. it doesn't matter a lick to me. let the politicians who are on the ballot worry about election day. it's not my problem, i'm not dealing with it at the moment. >> reporter: local officials in his state and others are worried. in new york's nassau county, loss of power may force votes to be counted by hand, delaying the results. new jersey's ocean county is considering relocating polling places. and west virginia may deploy generators to keep lights on. back in ohio, the campaigns have been ignoring the storm, instead bickering over this new romney ad. >> who will do more for the auto industry? not barack obama? obama took gm and chrysler into bankruptcy. and sold chrysler to italians who are going to build jeeps in china. >> reporter: after independent fact checkers raised questions about the ads charges, chrysler ceo issued his own statement writing, jeep production will not be moved from the united states to china.
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it's inaccurate to suggest anything different. but the romney campaign stands by the ad, noting to nbc news, that chrysler ceo never disputed any actual facts in their ads. so, brian, a couple things, number one, the president still not campaigning on the campaign trail tomorrow. instead he will tour new jersey with governor chris christie tomorrow, some of the damaged areas. mitt romney, is resuming a full campaign schedule tomorrow. he'll be in the battleground state of florida. >> all right, chuck todd at the white house tonight. chuck, thanks. when we come back, back to our storm coverage, specifically, a moment of crisis for a big hospital that included a lot of newborns who needed to move quickly. [ dennis ] it only took two minutes for this town to be destroyed. to a little girl who lived through it, this is more than a teddy bear. it's a step towards normal. it's why allstate catastrophe teams not only have hot coffee and help for grownups... they've also handed out more than twelve thousand teddy bears to kids. people come first... everything else is second. that's allstate's stand.
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[ male announcer ] try new alka-seltzer plus severe allergy to treat allergy symptoms, plus sinus congestion, and pain. there are a lot of stories of heroism emerging from this storm. we're still learning about a lot of them. one of them happened when a big hospital in new york city took a big hit from this storm last night. our report from nbc's rehema ellis. >> reporter: new york university medical, one of the most respected teaching hospitals in new york city, found itself in crisis at the height of the
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storm. flooded with up to 12 feet of water, it lost power, including its backup generator. dozens of ambulances from across the city lined up in front of and around the hospital and through the night and into this morning moved more than 200 patients, some adults and even babies in critical condition to other facilities, including julia alamone, who pregnant and in labor had to be carried down several flights of stairs. >> this couldn't get any worse, i wouldn't know what to do. where do we go? she's having powerful contractions every 30 seconds. they took her off the bed, got her on this med sled, and proceeded to slide her really slowly down eight flights of stairs. >> reporter: they were told they would have to evacuate to mt. sinai medical center, four miles away. everyone was in dark, and julia in severe pain. >> just closing my eyes.
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breathing, having positive thoughts. >> i was holding a cell phone above her while they were putting in the iv and epidural. >> reporter: with all of lower manhattan in the dark, the evacuation was that much more challenging. hundreds of staff and emergency crews pitched in, and it took them all night to get everyone out. hospital officials had discharged hundreds of patients last weekend in advance of the storm. officials are still investigating the cause of the generator failure. rehema ellis, nbc news, new york. we'll be back in a moment with some coverage details for you from this devastating storm. .
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ask your doctor about cialis for daily use and a 30-tablet free trial. this is where we say good night to some of our viewers. we are going to keep going for another half hour here tonight. if the nbc station where you're seeing us does not air our next half hour, you can switch quickly now to our website, and watch this next half hour as a streaming broadcast. also important, you know, we'll be back on the air tonight for a special hour of nbc news prime time coverage. that's at 10:00, 9:00 central. i'm brian williams for all of us
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on the team here, who worked so hard to bring you tonight's broadcast, we'll look for you tomorrow evening. for those nbc stations staying with us, we'll be right back for a second half hour of coverage. right now it's 6:00 as sandy pummels the east coast, we look at the economic impact of this super storm. >> reporter: and i'm live in san francisco where it's a race against the clock to get ready for tomorrow's big parade honoring the san francisco giants. i'll tell you if anyone is planning to come into the city tomorrow and what they need to know. >> and another shark attack along the california coast. now. good evening and thanks for joining us. i'm jessica aguirre. >> and i'm raj mathai.


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